The sister of one of the four University of Idaho students who were stabbed to death on Nov. 13 said it was scary to learn that suspect Bryan Kohberger, 28, may have been watching the Moscow home in the months before the murders.
“We had no idea. She didn’t know. Alivea Goncalves, the sister of victim Kaylee Goncalves, 21, told NewsNation on Sunday, “I had no idea that real evil was really watching them.”
Goncalves said that reading the probable cause affidavit, which says that Kohberger’s cell phone was near the crime scene “at least twelve times” before the murder, was the hardest part. “It’s hard to take a step back and look at the whole picture,” he said.
“When my sister was FaceTiming me about a new recipe for egg bites, [Kohberger] was planning his next visit to the house,” she said. “That’s really hard. It’s really hard not to wish you had done more and known more.
Goncalves said it was also disturbing to learn from the affidavit that Kohberger, a doctoral student in criminology, allegedly “went back to the home the morning of [the murders], before police had been called, I think to see if his circus, so to speak, had started to unfold.”
Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington, and Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona, are all said to have been killed by Kohberger.
Kohberger went to court for the first time in Idaho on January 5. He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, which could lead to life in prison or the death penalty.
Kohberger was ordered to be held without bail, and his next pre-trial hearing is set for Jan. 12.
Kristi and Steve Goncalves, Kaylee’s parents, were in court last week. It’s not clear if Alivea was there, but she told NewsNation that she plans to be at “every single” hearing in the case.
She said that now that a suspect is in custody, she and her family are “starting” to be able to grieve.
“It seems like an odd time to do that, since we still have a long way to go, but the relief we all felt when we caught a suspect was—I can’t even explain it—it was like the weight of the world was lifted off our shoulders.”
In the NewsNation interview, Goncalves also talked about another important finding from the affidavit: that Dylan Mortensen, one of the two roommates who didn’t get hurt and lived, “saw a figure in black clothing and a mask” walking past her and leaving the house on the night of the murders while she was in a “frozen shock phase.”
After seeing the man, Mortensen “locked herself in her room,” and one of her roommates didn’t call 911 until hours later, just before noon, the affidavit says.
Goncalves said that Mortensen shouldn’t be blamed for what she did. Independent experts told NBC News that Mortensen’s actions are not unusual in situations that could be dangerous.
“I do know that Dylan is very young and that she was probably very, very scared,” Goncalves told NewsNation. “Until we have more information, I don’t think anyone should judge because you don’t know what you would do in that situation.”
She also said that she is giving law enforcement any information she gets about possible links between Kohberger and the victims.
“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me with Instagram posts or even Spotify or a lot of connections they’ve been able to find, and those are very helpful. All of those go to the Moscow Police Department, the Idaho State Police, and the FBI, because at this point nothing is unimportant and everything is being looked at,” she said.
The university said that Kaylee Goncalves was a senior who was majoring in general studies in the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences and was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. Alivea Goncalves called her sister “the ultimate go-getter” in a past interview.